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Reference reading for Bryophytes varies greatly in both content and simplicity.

The most comprehensive and widely used publication is 

Mosses and Liverworts of Great Britain and Ireland

Published by the

British Bryological Society.

ISBN 978-0-9561310-1-0

There is a wealth of information in this Guide with photographs, drawings, species lists and keys.

Although described as a Field Guide, it is quite a large book and certainly not one for your pocket. I rarely take it into the field, but frequently refer to it when identifying specimens.



Illustrated FSC Field Guides

These fold -out guides are very useful with lots of information.

Laminated and easily portable they ca be very useful when in the field and for general reference.

The guides cover several topics for both liverworts and bryophytes.


  2. Guide to mosses and liverworts of towns and gardens - by Martin Godfrey


2. Field Guide to Sphagnum mosses in Bogs - By John O'Reilly, Clare O' Reilly and Ros Tratt


3. Guide to mosses and liverworts of woodlands - By Martin Godfrey



 Joint Nature Conservation Committee - Sphagnum: a field guide

By MO. Hill, Revised and updated by N.G. Hodgetts and A.G. Payne

ISBN 1 873701 14 4

Now out of print but possibly available second hand




This excellent organisation publishes a whole series of very useful and informative

booklets about Bryophytes and most other 'plants' found across the regions of the UK.

These booklets can be download free of charge directly of the Plantlife website on the link below:


Mosses & Liverworts - Naturally Scottish

By Gordon Rothero

ISBN 1 85397 446 3

A great booklet with superb images which is very informative and illustrative of the different

habitats where Bryophytes can be found.


These following books contain much more detailed information and are a little more challenging.


The Liverworts of Britain & Ireland

AJE Smith

Line drawings throughout

ISBN: 978052142738

Much more in depth look at the subject with technical descriptions

Still available.


The following books are very comprehensive and regarded as definitive works in their field.

They are very useful but a lot 'heavier' in terminology and depth.


Only buy if your interest in the subject begins to 'bite' and you want a lot more detailed information.

These are definitely NOT Field Guides.

They are comprehensively illustrated with  beautifully accurate line drawings for illustrations.

 1. The Moss Flora of Britain and Ireland - Second Edition - A.J.E. Smith

ISBN 978-0-521-54672-0



2. The Liverwort Flora of the British Isles - Jean A. Paton

ISBN 978-90-04-28537

The original work is out of print but was reproduced by BRIILL in paperback and

can still be purchased new in that format.

The drawings in it are superb.

Only to be considered if you are very serious about Liverworts.


Listed below are a series of publications related to Bryophytes.

I am not sure how available they are.


Atherton I, Bosanquet S and Lawley M (eds) (2010).  Mosses and Liverworts of Britain and Ireland a Field Guide.  A fully illustrated, guide which is the current standard work for beginners.


Blockeel T L, Bosanquet S D S, Hill MO & Preston C D. (2014). Atlas of British and Irish Bryophytes.  Pices Publications. The new standard work on the distribution of bryophytes. 


Crawford, C.L. (2002).  Bryophytes of Native Woods.  3rd edition.  The Natural Resource Consultancy.  A small booklet with colour photos and very good short descriptions, including habitat.  Has useful notes on NVC.


Dixon, H.N. & Jameson, H.G. (1904).  The Students Handbook of British Mosses.  Sumfield, Eastborne.  2nd ed.  Although old the various editions of this handbook are still a mine of useful information.  The 2nd ed is my favourite.


Frey, W. Frahm, J.P. Fischer, E and Lobin, W. (2006).  The Liverworts, Mosses and Ferns of Europe.  Harley Books.  A very useful, portable, guide to the European species with the added bonus of all of the ferns as well.


Goffinet, B & Shaw, A J (eds) (2009).  Bryophyte Biology.  A series of in-depth essays on various aspects of the biology of the group.


Hill MO, Blackstock TH, Long DG and Rothero GP(2008).  A Check-List and Census Catalogue of British and Irish Bryophytes. Updated 2008.  British Bryological Society.  The current checklist for the group. 


Hill MO, Preston CD, Bosanquet SDS and Roy DB. (2007).  BRYOATT Attributes of British and Irish Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts.  An invaluable compendium of ecological information on the group.


Paton, J.A. (1999).  The Liverwort Flora of the British Isles.  Harley Books.  An outstanding standard work on the liverwort flora by the current expert. 


Porley R. (2008).  Arable Bryophytes. Wild Guides.  Despite its unpromising title this is a nicely illustrated small book which covers a lot of the small “weedy” species of bare soil.


Porley R. (2013).  England’s Rare Mosses and Liverworts.  Wild Guides.  Although sounding somewhat limited in scope this is an excellent introduction to the ecology and conservation of rare bryophytes as well as good coverage of the over 80 species thought of as rare in England.

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